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Skeletons Without Halos 11

Updated on February 26, 2016
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Nightcat is a freelance writer who enjoys crafting short stories for her readers in the fantasy, mystery and horror genres.

Whodunit?

Welcome to tonight’s tale of mystery. Have you figured out who is behind all the attempts on Nicky? And why escalate things to take out Chester as well? Or was he just collateral damage? Every boss in town is now a suspect and let’s not forget that a former partner scorned is no woman to play around with. Could Vicky have decided to take out Nicky when her former partner left her to her fate?

As always, all writing and photography are my original work if borrowing for Internet use a link back and credit where credit is due is appreciated. The video below is included only to enhance your reading pleasure. If you own the copyright and want additional links and credit or the video removed, please let me know.

And if you missed any of the previous chapters you can find links to the entire story below. My way of saying thanks to my loyal readers.

Your Music For Tonight's Tale of Mayhem And Mystery

Graham de Wilde

Shark Steaks

I stared into the frothing water, my men still holding me tight. They knew I’d have gone in after Chester. The surface of the water darkened and one shark floated up to the surface ventilated, then another. I broke loose and ran to kneel at the edge of the dock, then grabbed the skeletal hand that shot from below the water’s surface. I braced myself and hauled as Chester came up out of the water, a huge grin on his face. “Looks like we’re having shark steak tonight, my sweet. Waste not, want not.” Chester said as he joined me back on dry land and pocketed his revolver.

I laughed through my happy tears and drew him into a kiss so intense that I saw stars as he wrapped his arms around me and our men dutifully drug the sharks onto the dock.

A car arrived for us soon enough and Chester predictably refused to go to the doctor, insisting on returning to our complex instead. As soon as he’d showered and changed into his sharpest suit he joined me on the sofa in his apartment . “Ah, coffee.” He said brightly as he accepted a steaming mug. “How about we order the chef to cook us up those steaks?” He asked and I nodded.

Chester placed the call and I knew our chef would be happy to do it. Chester, after all, kept the man and his family well fed. His philosophy was to make sure each skeleton who served under him got the best in the areas they served in. No doubt there would be shark aplenty for more than us that night and I loved that about him.

Chester was one of the good guys. Certainly he was ruthless, but he took care of all those who worked for him. He put an arm around me and I leaned back into him. The apartment was quiet, Chester having never gone in for TVs, though we had our own theater elsewhere. “You know, when I saw the car coming at us I figured it was curtains for both of us.” He said quietly.

“I know. We have our best men on it. But I don’t like this, Chester. You never had problems like this until I arrived.”

“What are you saying, Nicky?”

“Should I go? Would it all just stop if I went away?” I asked and felt him stiffen. “It would, wouldn’t it?” I asked and turned to face him. We set down our coffees and he looked at me.

‘Yes, it would.”

“But why?”

“Someone’s after you. And I can’t figure out who, Nicky. And I can’t protect you if I can’t figure out who. But if I send you away then that just makes it easier on them, doesn’t it? You’ll be too far away for me to protect and then it will be the great beyond for you. And I couldn’t take that.”

“But you could have went with me this time.”

“You think I wouldn’t follow you?” His words triggered a memory.

“I thought skeletons could go to the great beyond and back.”

“But you’re not a skeleton, are you?” He asked and I stiffened.

“I didn’t mean it like that, Nicky. You know I love you and I want you here with me. I want a family with you, I want to pass down our empire in time. I’m not going to want to rule this town forever and neither will you. Nicky, please, don’t take it like that.”

But I was hurt. “So, you what, you have me here so you can have the only flesh and blood girl going at your side, is that it?” I asked.

“No! Nicky, no! I ordered your hit because I love you!” Dead silence filled the room at his words and I got up and left quietly enough. I went to my room and packed. I had no idea where I was going but it was away from him.


Skeletons Without Halos

Well, we know Chester didn't aim the car at himself.
Well, we know Chester didn't aim the car at himself.

No Parking At Any Time

“He drug me into the grave with him.” I muttered as I took the elevator down to the garage. “I thought he loved me and he took out a hit on me.” I was enraged and humiliated at the same time and crying angry tears as I reached my car in the garage and stopped. There was a dozen roses on top and an apology note. “Sorry!” Written in a bold and elegant script.

I put my bag down and stared at them. Either Chester had a florist on hand or the roses weren’t from him. I dug out my mobile and called him. “Yeah?” His voice was cold and hard.

“You don’t sound like you’re in the mood to give a girl roses.”

“Why would I- Nicky, where are you? I’m coming for you!” I could hear him get up as I slowly backed away from the car and tried to walk to the stairs nonchalantly.

“Parking garage.” I whispered. There was a metallic scrape behind me and I didn’t dare turn around. I made as if I hadn’t heard it and got into the stairwell. I went up quickly, hearing the clatter of feet descending towards me and hoped it was Chester.

The door boomed open below me as the lights on the stairwell went out and I cursed and drew my gun, keeping it trained on where I though the center of the stairs was. I didn’t dare to move, just stared into the darkness below me as I heard that same sinister scraping sound drift up to me. I swore I could feel my heart hammering in my chest as laughter that raised the hair on my neck followed the noise.

There was an explosive roar from above me and flashes of light. I could make out Chester’s fierce snarl as his tommy gun lit up the stairwell in pulses as he fired. With my eyes locked on him I saw nothing of the person after me, only heard a scream and then the door below clanging back open as my attacker got away. Then the lights flooded back on and I ran back down the stairs, enraged as I’d been frightened.

I burst out into the garage, gun at the ready. “There’s no way out but through me.” I barked with false bravado. “Why don’t you come out where I can see you?” The door burst open behind me and Chester came to my side, tommy gun at the ready. Silence met us. No running feet, no laughter.

“I don’t like this.” He said quietly.

“You ordered my hit, I don’t care what you like.” I growled and started walking and firing at random shadows. But although our men had been only seconds behind us they found nothing. It was as if my attacker had simply vanished.

Or been one of them. I thought grimly.

Her Hero

She's just too stubborn a dame to admit it.
She's just too stubborn a dame to admit it.

A Prisoner In Her Own Apartment

I couldn’t sleep that night. I was now effectively Chester’s prisoner until I “Came to my senses.” as he’d put it. I paced in my apartment, knowing there was one of his men right outside. I racked my brains, trying to work the case out with no clues.

I’d been brought over by Chester, he admitted that much. And some of the attempts on my undead self had been either him or the police. But after they were gone was it all really rivals? There was no one who would gain my territory and everyone knew if he lost me Chester would have flipped into the kind of boss men feared and despised. Was that it? I wondered. Did someone want him out of the way and was taking me out the best way to do it?

I went to the door and opened it. The skeleton standing there smiled at me pleasantly enough. “Evening, Boss. Going somewhere?”

“To see Chester.” I said and he nodded and accompanied me to Chester’s door. Chester looked up as I entered his apartment.

“Come to your senses yet, Nicky?” I’d had a great speech planned about how I was done putting him in danger, but then I saw the wedding books he’d been poring over and my heart melted. I went to his side without a word and Chester smiled gently at me. “That’s my girl. And I got good news. We found your attacker. Of course he swore up and down he knew nothing about it.”

“And?”

“If I had my way the roses you carry in your wedding bouquet would be nourished by bone meal.” He said sweetly as he nuzzled into me and I giggled. “But he’s safely locked away. Call it poetic justice. No one touches you, Nicky. No one.”

“I’m sorry. I knew, it just hurt to hear you say it.”

“I know. I didn’t order for you to go the way you went, either. I wanted it painless. Suffice it to say we’ll be able to supply my nurseries with only the best for some time.” He said darkly. “And I figured out who’s been behind all the attempts, Nicky. It’ll be smooth sailing from now on.”

“Cynthia?” I guessed and he looked surprised but nodded as he drew a cigar out of his breast pocket.

“How’d you figure it out?”

“Vicky was wearing violets when she came to see me. Hardly subtle. And the thing is I think she meant it simply as partner partners. She wanted to clean up this town. She’s gone, isn’t she?”

“Yeah, and Cynthia too, but it ain’t your fault. Cynthia had been fraying at the edges for some time. I’d suspected her from the first but could never prove it. But what you said about her setting up the windows checked out. See? You’re still a detective, Nicky, and you always will be.” And with that Chester drew me into a kiss that left me breathless. Some days it was good to be the boss, real good.

He's A lovable Mug

A tad scary, but lovable, honest.
A tad scary, but lovable, honest.

Well, Now!

Well! So it was Cynthia all along. I guess she just went crazy when she knew Vicky would never be hers. But it isn’t all bad news. Nicky has a wedding to look forward to and it looks like the city will be safe for its citizenry once again. And as for Vicky? I’m not sure to be honest. She was central to the story as Nicky’s partner and she may return again some day. Skeletons seem to have an amazing habit of coming back from the beyond in this story.

Do you think Vicky will return?

Well?

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